Pilgrims’ Progress: Journal Entries from a 60th Anniversary Pilgrimage – #12

On August 15, 2019, thirteen Canadian Jesuits noted their 60th Anniversary as members of the Society of Jesus.  Two members of this group – Charlie Pottie Pate, SJ and David Eley, SJ  – have chosen to make a special pilgrimage to mark the occasion.  They have graciously agreed to share their journal entries and photos with igNation which will post them once or twice a week.


Today, Monday was our last day in Stockholm (boo hoo!) It was such a beautiful summer day 27 C. We decided to take the Hop on Hop off bus to see both the sites of the old Town and the new city that has built up over the past century or so. The bus had an open roof and a good commentary of the history and culture of Stockholm from its beginnings in the 1500’s till now.  Didn’t know that there was a terrible massacre in 1520 when the king of Denmark (if I’m not mistaken) tried to take over Sweden.  The bubonic plaque was rampant for a year in 1710 or so, etc.

With all the beauty of the islands and the harbours that make up Stockholm, it has had its challenges. It was a delightful tour that lasted 3 hrs. as it rolled through the old city into the new parts each with important sites, like the new communication tower, the museums along the way, the Parliament buildings, the National Theatre, etc. All  well-constructed and striking buildings.

We did “hop off” at the Skansen museum (open air museum of the culture and history of Sweden with even live animals and period costumes.) It would have taken us a whole day to try to do just that.

We had a morning ice cream pause and did some walking around. At this place, Skansen, it had the most beautifully arranged gift shop I have every seen, colourful and well apportioned. It felt like visiting a work of art. See photo (which doesn’t do it justice).  I was struck by it and met the lady at cashier who when I told her I was from Calgary said she had visited Edmonton and Banff with a friend. So the cultures meet!

We returned for lunch with the community and had an enjoyable meal with them.

After a short siesta,  we set out on our hop on hop off bus to stop at the Vasa museum. Extraordinary. The famous war boat built in 1628, commissioned by the then king Adolphus Vasa. Very large military boat, very colourful, etc.  But lasted 10 minutes on its maiden voyage and sank in the harbor. It was only found again in 1958 and with modern technology brought to the surface intact.

The colours disappeared but they have done amazing research on what colours the wood sculptures would be. But the sculptures are intact still. And this boat – 4 stores high – is in this museum with all its history before and since, the salvaging procedures, etc. videos on it, why it had such a disastrous beginning, etc. It’s an amazing museum of one such tragic event. We both found this museum very informative and interesting.

There was another museum – the Nordic Museum – nearby  a beautiful castle like building which gives the history and culture of the Nordic peoples. That would have been a great thing to see as well. But it was late in afternoon.So much still to see in this wonderful city. Will have to come back just to see everything!

We bought some pickled herring (a Nordic favorite) and had that with a glass of white wine for supper. Another wonderful day here in Stockholm. Leaving with gratitude for such cultural and physical richness (the green areas in Stockholm are as prominent as the buildings). They are very conscious of the environment and keeping the air clean and health. We leave early tomorrow morning for Helsinki. I have a Lutheran pastor friend who we will be meeting there.

Charles Pottie Pate, SJ, is the Prairie and Rockies regions Ecclesial Assistant for CLC. He resides at St. Mary's Cathedral Rectory, Calgary.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 16:06h, 07 September Reply

    Thank you Charlie!

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